Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky massed in their respective state capitols on April 2, to demand GOP legislatures revoke bills damaging to education passed in virtual stealth. The spark plug in Kentucky is a group of activist parents with teachers, #SaveOurSchools Kentucky. In both states the movement has been organized outside the official teachers unions, using social media as well as traditional organizing techniques of talking with colleagues and neighbors about the issues. Another struggle of teachers is simmering, near boil, in Arizona.
Each of these movements has characteristics that emerge from their specific political (and geographic) setting, but they share an amazing energy and a commitment of teachers to be heard. These struggles cannot and should not be pushed into the mold of traditional strikes. Videos of the protests show that this is a movement of women, both in the ranks and the leadership. My longer, fuller analysis of what these struggles portend for labor and national politics is in the works. In the meantime, you can learn what I think the media, corporate and Left, are getting right – and wrong – when you follow me on Twitter and Facebook.